Last Sunday, after church, my family went to a market that visibly resembles Costco but without much wholesale discount. I was shocked as soon as I walked in because it was a zoo! It looked like Costco before Christmas! I quickly decided that we were going to get what we need and leave asap.

However, in Cambodia, when you buy fruit or vegetables, you need to stand in a line to have them weighed and priced before you can take them out to the cashier. So, I stood in the line to have my grapes weighed and priced. It was a long line to start with but people kept cutting in front of me and I felt like a swimmer who was swimming against the waves. At a certain point, a man pushed me in order to cut in front of me. Now, that’s where I draw the line!

I put the grapes back and told my family we’re leaving. I explained to them that people were cutting in front of me and pushing me and that I just can’t take it. Then Reina said, “But Mommy, we’re in Cambodia. You have to push them back and cut in front of them, too!”

This made me think for a split second. Must I learn to cut in line in order to live in Cambodia?

Here is the the answer that I gave them:

I refuse to learn to cut in line and push people to get ahead. These are not Christian values and I will not practice them in the name of acculturating or adapting to “new culture.” We may not be able to change such “cultures” of Cambodia, but we will continue to serve as good role models. And if we become frustrated, we will quietly walk away instead of fighting it. Not easy… but we must… and we will…

Just another day Cambodia…